NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Use it or lose it: NY State

In April 2006, I wrote about how a candidate for this congressional seat could get some quick easy funding by their elected Democratic counterparts throughout the state in otherwise safe seats, who do not need to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars into their re-election campaigns. From that post;

"In 2004 they (20 Democrats from NY) gave (Frank Barbaro) a combined $12,750. $7,000 of that coming from Rep. Rangel's PAC. If those 18 non-competitive seats put in $2,1000 during both the primary and general election, we will have $75,600."

Back in the fall of the 2006 elections, Chris Bowers of MyDD.com blogged about a proposal he entitled "Use it or lose it" in which he called for safe House Democrats to donate to Democratic challengers and the DCCC.

So bring those two together, and you get 'Use it or lose it: NY State.' As of December 2006, the following is a list of cash on hand for the now 23 Democratic congress members;

01 Bishop - $423,784
02 Israel - $1mil
04 McCarthy - $373,676
05 Ackerman - $839,419
06 Meeks - $68,614
07 Crowley - $683,096
08 Nadler - $669,254
09 Weiner - $279,482
10 Towns - $52,722
11 Clarke - $53,613 (debt $137k)*
12 Velazquez - $309,102
14 Maloney - $672,956
15 Rangel - $412,923 (debt $35k)
16 Serrano - $2,829
17 Engel - $42,413
18 Lowey - $809,000
19 Hall - $54,448 *
20 Gillibrand - $43,964 *
21 McNulty - $225,843
22 Hinchey - $78,347
24 Arcuri - $36,007 *
27 Higgins - $408,596
28 Slaughter - $272,361

* freshmen candidates

So here is the proposal for 2008:
1. All members with over $100k and not a freshman should promise to give a maximum PAC contribution to Hall, Gillibrand and Arucri. Clarke's seat will remain Democratic, and the purpose of this post is only focusing on flipping seats and retaining hard fought victories. Contributions should be made as primary donations in early 2008.

2. All members with over $100k and not a freshman should promise to give to each Democratic nominee challenger in New York, there will only be six. In 2004 these were; Massa (NY29), Maffei (NY25), Harrison (NY13), Mejias (NY03), Johnson (NY23) and Davis (NY26). Should Jack Davis run again, I would exclude him from this because he is a self financing candidate. Although should Jonathan Powers be the nominee he is definitely included. Since this will be a presidential election year I have ordered the races by PVI (Party Voter Index), since party turnout will be drastically impacted by the Presidential election;

1. NY25 D+3 (Maffei)
2. NY03 D+2 (Mejias)
3. NY13 D+1 (Harrison)
4. NY23 R+0 (Johnson)
5. NY26 R+3 (Davis)

note: NY29 is not listed for an unknown reason on Cook's 2008 Potentially Competitive House Chart.

Since New York primaries are so late, September, these candidates need this money as early in the process as possible. In the challenger races where there is only one candidate by April 2008, they should be considered the front runner and receive the donations outlined in step 2.

Right now there are 14 members with over 100k cash on hand. With the exception of Rep. Serrano (who always has fund raising issues) all of the remaining non freshman should have no problems reaching the 100k level before their 2008 races. Those 14 members could essentially start Hall, Gillibrand, Arcuri and the six challengers to Republican held seats with a minimum of nearly $30k seed money, while posing little impact to their cash on hand totals and re-election.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Vito needs war in Iraq to continue

While the country is opposed to the war, Rep. Vito Fossella must do everything he can to keep it going. It is not just that he can play off the fear but also that should the war end, and should the troops come home then what? How does Vito support the troops if he can no longer send them off to war (his current method of 'supporting' them). Consider this:

  • Fossella voted in favor of stripping the Tricare provision of the 2006 Defense Authorization Bill - which would have made healthcare coverage available to thousands of National Guard and Reservists.
  • Fossella voted against an amendment to the Perkins Vocational and Technical Act of 1998 (S. 250 - introduced in 2006) would have increased veterans' access to education benefits.
  • Fossella voted against the Stupak amendment which called for a living wage for active duty military and a $1500.00 bonus for those serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
  • Fossella voted against the Stearns Amendment to H. 10 (2005) , which sought to increase funding for prosthetics research.
  • Fossella voted against HR 1362, the Accountability in Contracting Act, aka The Waxman Bill, which sought to increase supervision of government contracts.
  • Fossella voted against the Supplemental bill just last week which requires adequate troop training and equipment

If there is no war Fossella does not have much of a record of actually 'supporting our troops' to fall back on. Of course that reality must be frightening to him.

Then again he did get funding to print up all of those posters showing how much support he had. Looking back on it, maybe using that money for care packages would have been more effective, not to mention meaningful since the troops aren't here to see his pretty posters.

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Assemblyman Titone

Congratulations go out tonight to Assemblyman Titone, who won his special election on the north shore with 49% of the vote. 5,876 voters turned out in the 61st AD vs the 3,210 who turned out in the south shore race. This is promising news, considering Titone alone garnered almost as many votes in the Democraticly favored north shore as both candidates in the 62nd AD, a heavily Republican favored south shore race won by Lou Tobacco(R). If one can extrapolate anything from these races, it is that the voter base, the ones who actually turn out for a special election, was either more organized or more motivated for the Dems today.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007

The House passed H.R. 1227, to assist in the provision of affordable housing to low-income families affected by Hurricane Katrina. The final vote was 302-125. Rep. Vito Fossella voted against this, and was the only Republican from NY state to do so. What kind of ethical and moral problems must one have to conscientiously vote against something like this? Mind you in 2003, 10.1% of Staten Island lived in poverty according to the US Census data, meaning those are the people who would need this housing should something as horrific as Katrina happened here in our own region. Heaven forbid it did, but I would certainly hope the rest of the country to run to our aide and not turn a blind eye because they are poor as Fossella did with his vote.

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Vote today

For those of you on the north shore and south shore, today is Special Election Tuesday so go vote.

Matthew Titone for Assembly, 61st District


Monday, March 26, 2007

LTE: Dear Vito

In a Sunday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, a writer wonder's in a letter written to Rep. Vito Fossella, why we are not offering our troops the best equipment possible comparing the societal mindset of troop equipment production from WWII and today's war in Iraq;

I understand that a vehicle called the Cougar has been developed, which is far stronger than the open vehicles now used to patrol in Iraq because it provides protection against improvised explosive devices. Why has this vehicle not been fast-tracked for use in Iraq?

With every day that passes it seems clearer and clearer that Republicans pay lip service to the idea of "supporting the troops" but are primarily interested in supporting certain parts of corporate America.

If such a vehicle has been produced and can be mass produced, why aren't you yelling your head off at the military and the producers of these vehicles to get more out, more quickly?

Support our troops, and demand they have the best training, the best equipment and the best services available provided to them. Read the entire piece here, it is a very strong letter.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Support Americans or support Bush?

In a recent Newsweek poll from March 17, they asked "3a. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq?." The results were;

Disapprove: 69%
Approve: 27%
Don't Know: 4%

That is the second highest disapproval rating, going all the way back to March 2005. So one has to wonder what Rep. Vito Fossella was thinking in backing Bush's plan and voting against the recent House Supplemental bill sending a withdraw date and benchmarks to show clear success by the Iraqis in handling this civil war. Only one of 15 Republicans in Democratic leaning districts, yes Staten Island is a Democratic leaning district based on PVI. Surely Iraq once again will be a campaign issue, whether Fossella tries to run from it again or not.

Interestingly Vito was joined by a Democratic member of Congress from NY in voting against the bill. While Vito believes sending troops to war is a way to support them, Rep. McNulty (D) who also voted against it had slightly differing reasons, actually supporting the troops;

“In October of 2002, I made a huge mistake in voting to give this President the authority to take military action in Iraq. I will not compound that error by voting to authorize this war’s continuation.”

“On the contrary, I will do all that is within my power to end this war, to bring our troops home, and to spare other families the pain that the McNulty family has endured every day since August 9th, 1970.”

Rep. McNulty lost his brother in Vietnam on that date, after the President at the time (Nixon) refused to face the reality of a horribly botched war.

Vito just put up another poster in his office to remind himself he still supports the troops!

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Pre-K education

Yesterday we brought you an LTE advocating funding Head Start, a program designed to "provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children." Today in a NYTimes article discussing this Tuesday's special election on the north shore for Assemblyman Lavelle's former seat comes this on the Titone (D) campaign;

Mr. Titone said that his election would indeed be “an exciting thing,” but that he was most concerned about finding ways to increase health care financing in the borough, reducing class sizes in the Assembly district’s schools and making prekindergarten programs available for all 4-year-olds.

I hope Mr. Titone's optimistic yet reality based plan, especially for pre-K programs, finds it way to the floor in Albany. Given the option, I would rather our taxes see their way to early education and giving children a chance from the start, than on expanding our jails. We readily spend money on incarceration projects, which send your tax dollars upstate to prison towns, rather than investing it locally in our early education programs and schools, and giving our children a better chance of staying out of those upstate economic boom industries we call prisons.

Matt Titone for Assembly. Vote this Tuesday!

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

LTE: Voting Republican in SI

In a Friday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, a writer ponders why so many blue collar workers continue to vote for Republicans;

My problem is that I can't understand why Staten Island is so Republican. Working people should appreciate Social Security, food inspections, clean air, clean water and insurance on our money in the bank. All these benefits and more were fought for by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.

Read the full piece here.

Not to mention Republicans opposed this year's passing of the first minimum wage increase in a decade. Republicans opposed the Democratic plan to cut student loan interest rates, making college more affordable and accessible to more people. Republicans all but gutted Pell Grant funding while they were in control. Pell grants are the largest need based grant program the government offers. The list goes on.


LTE: Head Start

In a Friday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) a writer comments on the success they saw first hand with Head Start programs and the demise of the program in recent years due to budget cuts;

To my disappointment, I saw one Head Start program after another cut due to lack of funding. Head Start was denigrated and believed not to be worth the investment. Not worth the investment? How much does it cost to provide remedial education for low-achieving children? How much does it cost society when teen-agers get into trouble? We know that unmotivated, low academic-functioning students, many of whom do not graduate high school, are left with no hope for the future. Without hope, they have nothing.

Read the full piece here.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Vito on supporting the troops, or not

So we all know Rep. Vito Fossella 'supports the troops,' he tells us it often. However what we don't see too much of is his commitment to our soldiers by ways of his vote in Congress, his ability to introduce legislation in Congress, or merely his bully pulpit should he choose to use it. Instead, like you would come to expect from that man that brought us a House resolution demanding a new stamp be made, Fossella gives you posters;

Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY13) and Island Ford have teamed up to offer Staten Island residents a free, 11X18 color poster emblazoned with the words "Staten Island Supports Our U.S. Troops" over a backdrop of the American flag and a bald eagle.

A flag and an eagle! It doesn't get more troop supporting than both of those together. Meanwhile back in reality, where posters don't do much for troops serving overseas in the same way say training would, comes a sad piece from the Hartford Courant;

The U.S. military is sending troops with serious psychological problems into Iraq and is keeping soldiers in combat even after superiors have been alerted to suicide warnings and other signs of mental illness, a Courant investigation has found.

Despite a congressional order that the military assess the mental health of all deploying troops, fewer than 1 in 300 service members see a mental health professional before shipping out.


These practices, which have received little public scrutiny and in some cases violate the military's own policies, have helped to fuel an increase in the suicide rate among troops serving in Iraq, which reached an all-time high in 2005 when 22 soldiers killed themselves - accounting for nearly one in five of all Army non-combat deaths.

Out of Salon, we find injured troops are being forces back into duty to meet the demands of troop levels supported by Rep. Vito Fossella;

As the military scrambles to pour more soldiers into Iraq, a unit of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga., is deploying troops with serious injuries and other medical problems, including GIs who doctors have said are medically unfit for battle. Some are too injured to wear their body armor, according to medical records.

All of this supporting the troops comes to a crucial juncture today, when the House may vote on the Supplemental bill which provides funding for various projects, and has an attached piece of legislation that "would establish tough readiness standards for the deployment of combat forces and an Aug. 31, 2008, deadline for their removal from Iraq." [WaPo] We are well aware that Republicans including Rep. Vito Fossella will probably vote as a party against this, appalled that Congress would try to instill requirements for troop preparedness while we are at war! From The Gavel;

Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-CA) offered an amendment during the committee markup which would have stripped language from the Iraq supplemental restricting the use of troops who are not properly equipped or trained, with the only exception being when President Bush is willing to publicly certify it is necessary, along with language requiring that the Iraqi government meet the benchmarks previously laid out by President Bush. The effort was defeated shortly after Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha spoke against it;

So today, like every day that has past since this war has started, Rep. Vito Fossella
has a chance to stand up to the party that took us into this war ill-prepared and the party that sends our own soldiers into battle ill-prepared, by voting for this bill and requiring proper troop training and one that requires that goals are set and ultimately met in ending this war (which was to find weapons of mass destruction topple a dictator).

Today like almost every other day, Fossella will stand up and tell the world he supports the troops, and then do everything he can to prevent legislation showing it from passing. He will look pretty for his time in front of the media spotlights and will send out press releases and ultimately vote against requiring our men and women from adequately being trained before we send them off to fight and possibly die for our country. While one may think that under those circumstances we should give the troops everything at our disposal to make sure they come home alive; training, armor, supplies, mental health care, you would be wrong, because unless you have an 11x18 color poster with a big Ford logo on it declaring you 'support the troops' like Rep. Vito Fossella does, then you are just fooling yourself.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Freedom of Information

The House recently voted on amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, an Act which basically requires disclosures of information from federal agencies if requested. The bill, HR 1309, passed 308-117. For those of you following along at home, this means at least 70 Republicans crossed the aisle in bipartisan support for this bill. Rep. Vito Fossella did not however, voting against the bill. I assume after casting his no vote he then screamed 'support the troops' and left the chambers to go work on a non binding Congressional resolution recognizing that squirrels are furry or something of similar importance.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

LTE: Lavelle and Iraq

In a Wednesday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, a writer notes that the late Assemblyman Lavelle was long a man of conscience having opposed the idea of invading Iraq before it was a well supported position;

This war is an international crisis that has engulfed us at every level, killing and maiming our soldiers, decimating Iraqi families, and siphoning off our tax dollars that should be being used for education, housing, public safety and health care. John Lavelle's answer back in 2003 showed courage and leadership. Where are the courageous leaders today?

Read the whole piece here.

As for where Rep. Vito Fossella is today? Well he is typically at the airport sending troops off in style, that is without training, without protective body armor and without enough resources. How dare anyone question his loyalty.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Vito's escalation

Rep. Vito Fossella has already told us that he supports the President and his infinite wisdom and supports increasing the amount of troops we send to Iraq as part of a troop surge or troop escalation.

At the time the President was saying we would need 21,000 more troops.
Vito applauded.
Then he said 4,400 more on top of that.
Vito applauded.
Then the top US commander in Iraq asked the President for 3,000 more troops.
Vito, I am sure applauded.

This is Vito's escalation. This is Vito's war. Every step of the way he has told us he is independent, and then without question supported President Bush. In 2008, whether we are out of Iraq or not, President Bush leaves his current job and can't screw up or fix things any more than he has. In 2008 Vito is planning on running for re-election to go back to DC to more of the same.

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Accountability in Contracting Act

Yesterday the House voted on the 'Accountability in Contracting Act' (HR 1362), which is somewhat lengthy but can be summed up as;

The legislation, reported by the Oversight and Armed Services Committees, changes federal acquisition law to require agencies to limit the use of abuse-prone contracts, to increase transparency and accountability in federal contracting, and to protect the integrity of the acquisition workforce.

* Section 101 limits the duration of no-bid contracts awarded in emergencies to one year to prevent abuse beyond the extent of the emergency
* Section 102 curbs this practice by requiring large federal agencies to develop and implement a plan to promote competition and minimize the use of noncompetitive contracts.
* Section 103 requires large federal agencies to develop and implement a plan to maximize the use of the efficient fixed-price contracts.
* requires public disclosure on why a no-bid contract was awarded within 14 or 30 days
*Section 202 promotes transparency in federal contracting by requiring that contract overcharges in excess of $10 million be disclosed to Congress by the Administration

And guess what, the bill passed 347-73, with Rep. Vito Fossella opposing this. Apparently his recent applause by the American Taxpayer's Union for his fiscal sensibility is really just a partisan joke. Otherwise how to do you explain voting against transparency, against closing loopholes for abuse, against public reports of how much we are being billed (taxes!). Of course Vito also served in a Republican majority that oversaw the largest deficit and debt accumulation. But don't just take my for it, here is Fossella contradicting himself;

“The key to sustaining long-term economic growth is to keep taxes low and to control spending. Too many families are struggling to make ends meet because high federal, state and city taxes are consuming as much as 50% of their paychecks. The American people work hard to earn their money and they shouldn’t be forced to hand over so much of it for the government to spend. I believe Staten Island and Brooklyn residents are smarter at spending their money than the government and deserve to keep more of it to invest, save or buy a new computer, fix up their homes or go on a vacation.” [March 7, 2007]

It is quite telling that over 100 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for this, and to vote for controlled government spending, while Rep. Vito Fossella voted to support the President, once again. Once again Fossella is all talk and no action for this district.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fossella on talking a big game

The Courier Life carries a story about Rep. Vito Fossella at the local VA hospital in Brooklyn, where he tries to save face for his party and highlight the success of the hospital in the wake of the scandal and failures at Walter Reed. Fossella is constantly talking about 'supporting the troops' which is code for letting them go to war, not providing support. Despite this he occasionally has some wonderful sound bites like this from the article:

Those who are being treated at Walter Reed, Fossella stressed, “Stepped up to the plate to sacrifice themselves for this country and for others, and, the way I look at it, they deserve the very best, and, by and large, they get the very best."

Of course the very best does not include Tricare health care, because as we know Vito voted against expanding Tricare coverage for all Reservists and National Guard members.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Vito prepares for '08

I saw this the other day doing some searches on our favorite member of Congress, vito2008.com. Of course as he did in 2006, Rep. Vito Fossella will not be discussing issues that matter and will be running on the platform issue of "I know I support President Bush's plan of privatizing Social Security but let's forgot that" and "Why talk about Iraq and diplomacy when I can talk about my opponent."

Number of references to Iraq; 0
Number of times Republican appears; 0

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Friday, March 16, 2007

LTE: Mandate leaders see VA Hospitals

In a Friday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, a writer suggests requiring the President and Congress to tour VA Hospitals to see what cutting costs is doing;

It should be mandated that before a decision is made, the president and congressional members visit veterans hospitals and other care facilities, to see the physically and emotionally maimed individuals that were involved in a war that was not supposed to be one. The horror of those memories will stay with them forever.

Read the full letter here.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

LTE: Support the Troops

In a Thursday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, a writer comments on an Advance article criticizing the President for his 'support the troops' mantra while failing to provide decent health care systems in the wake of the Walter Reed scandals;

I'd like to thank the Advance for highlighting the mismatch between the Bush administration's words and actions when it comes to caring for our troops ("Supporting the troops." March 5). Let's make this really simple: The men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are giving their lives and limbs for this effort. At the very least, the administration has a moral obligation to ensure that the troops who actually make it home receive quality health care in clean, livable environments.

Read the full letter here.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

LTE: Iraq War

In a Wednesday 'Letter to the Editor' in the SI Advance, the writer is critical of an article in the Advance that compared US casualties in various wars;

Am I missing something? Have we erroneously or purposefully overlooked the thousands of soldiers wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This represents soldiers whose psychological and body wounds have destroyed the fabric of their ability to fulfill their hopes and dreams due to their resultant disabilities. Marriages ruined; psychological scars, that in many will never heal, and physical disabilities that will negate any chance of future employment in occupations they had hoped to train for.

Now add "the body bags" to these wounded and you have the true cost of the war. If your article had done this, the critical thinker could then decide whether this war, with its present results, was worth it.

Read the rest of the letter here. Actually there isn't much more, those two paragraphs were too well written to condense.

Of course Rep. Vito Fossella would caution against bringing any of these troops home before we add more numbers to that list, because in his mind not keeping them on battlefields is not supporting them. I think if you want to support them you send them home to be with their families and provide adequate physical and mental health care.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Competing everywhere

The Democratic Party on the national level has a '50 State Strategy' which basically says they are a national party, and they can not win back control of the country unless they act like one and compete in every election from school board on up, in every district, in every state. One moral of the story is that you can not win races you don't run in. The second and more relevant to this post, is that the infrastructure that is built by running in races where Democrats have never fared well benefits the party down the road and across the ticket.

It is interesting that throughout my oh so long journey of blogging about politics in this district that a common misconception and excuse thrown out by Democrats is that the district is too conservative for Democrats to win. Party faithfuls can get excited about running a Democrat in Wyoming, but look at a borough of New York City as unwinnable.

There was a recent post by Tom Wrobleski that I didn't know how to incorporate the context into coverage earlier, that basically goes something like this... Manny Innamorato after losing his bid for Lanza's old city council seat, is continuing to promote the Democrat message and is trying to effect
change in an otherwise hostile area for Democrats.

And Innamorato, an Eltingville resident, said he will continue to fly the Democratic flag on the South Shore no matter what.

"I'm committed to building the party, enrolling voters and delivering good candidates to them," he said.

This is wonderful and long overdue. Should it be more than one man on a mission, we are starting to see small pieces of a future Democratic victory taking shape. Back during Manny's campaign I posted a piece called 'Winning the ground game' discussing the Innamorato/McMahon plan to ramp up support and leave no voter uncontacted through an aggressive canvassing operation. While his opponent quickly gathered ballot signatures and moved on, Manny was taking the Democratic message to the residents, one door at a time and starting a conversation. Clearly his optimism did not garner the results he was looking for, but the ball is rolling.

There are many recent stories of party resurgence that owe a bit of their success to rethinking politics and the importance of involving everyone in governance once again. You can go just north of the city and see the results of John Hall winning some what of an improbable primary, where many had crowned a Republican convert, in many ways due in part to the strength of his volunteer base and the combined voter outreach efforts. In Long Island, Craig Johnson's special election state senate victory is partially due to the ground game and voter outreach that was organized by the Working Families Party on his behalf.

A telling sign will be the two upcoming special elections, in terms of understanding how far the party has come. While many may see the south shore as unwinnable, it is those that see competing there this March as the first step in competing there in November 08 that really have an understanding about how they will win in the long term. For too long the party has started from scratch with every election, instead of competing in races as a way to start an on going ground game operation for all races that follow.

Every new voter that Titone's campaign registers, is a likely voter for the Democratic Congressional nominee. Every door that Innamorato knocks on is someone new being introduced to the party's platform.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

LTE: John Lavelle

In a Monday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance a writer recalls some of Mr. Lavelle's contributions to the community specifically through his values and leadership;

He didn't take credit for this because the most strength a community can derive is from one group coming to the aid of another, not from one person unrealistically claiming to carry it all on his/her shoulders.

Read the full letter here.

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Candidate Speculation: Harrison

In an earlier post pondering the likelihood of Harrison getting another shot at Fossella I noted;

Should Mr. Harrison jump in, I have to believe the earlier his announcement the better his chances are. If he is in, I would imagine an announcement will come by April of this year.

As mid March approaches this week, news from the political world comes out that 2006 Democratic Congressional candidates Darcy Burner (WA-08) and Eric Massa (NY-29) have both announced their intentions to run again. Darcy and Eric both lost their races 51.5%-48.5% and both if I recall correctly brought in more money than Fossella did in 06. Considering their races were a lot closer and more expensive, despite being in smaller media markets, I think potential candidates back here need to take notice.

I had a much more in depth post on this topic this morning, but had to run out the door before I could finish it. Nonetheless the party and supporters have their plate full with two special elections in just two weeks. See my previous post Financing a Run at this Seat for the reasons for early announcements like these.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Where is the concern Rep. Fossella?

In a recent press gaggle, the National Security Advisor Steve Hadley took some questions about increased levels of troops being sent to Iraq;

Q Can I ask you about final U.S. troop numbers going into Baghdad? There seems to be some question about whether 21,500 was an accurate estimate of how many American troops would actually end up on the ground in Baghdad.

MR. HADLEY: It was an accurate estimate of the combat troops that were going into Baghdad. That's what the President talked about. He said that there would be five brigades that would be going into Baghdad. He talked about 22,000-23,000 troops, something like that, the bulk of which would be going into Baghdad. So what he was talking about is combat troops.

Secretary Gates and General Pace ... did indicate here a couple weeks ago that he thought the increment of additional combat support troops would probably be 10 or 15 percent, and he's talked publicly of a number around 2,400, something like that.

Today CNN reports;

President Bush said Sunday that at least 4,400 additional troops he is sending to Iraq - more than he had originally stated in January would be deployed - will serve in support roles only.

Rep. Vito Fossella I know you blindly support the President and find him infallable, and despite what the public wants you don't support ending the war. However I must ask if you have any concern that the man you trust tells us one thing about troop levels and then changes that at will, deciding to tear more soldiers away from their families and send them into harms way. Can you at least demand that he is honest with America and stand by what he is telling us?

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LTE: American troop loses

In a Sunday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, the writer addresses a lead article comparing the death of soldiers in Iraq to that of previous wars;

First of all, the 3,168 American deaths should matter regardless of the fact that it is a smaller number than other wars. How dare Ms. Goldenberg minimize the importance of their deaths by comparing these numbers?

You can read the whole piece here.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

LTE: Titone, McMahon in good places

In a 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) yesterday in the SI Advance, a writer discusses why Titone and McMahon are good fits for the office they are pursuing (or are already in, in McMahon's case);

It is very good news that Matt Titone has been nominated for the Assembly. He has shown an excellent record of public service, especially serving on the board of Snug Harbor.

You can read the full letter here.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tobacco's residency problem

via the SI Advance;

GOP South Shore Assembly candidate Lou Tobacco is fending off charges that he might not be qualified for the ballot because he worked in Arizona between January and June of last year.

The New York state constitution says that Assembly candidates must reside in the district they are running in for a year before the election.

John Mulia (C, D, I) is his opponent in the March 27th election. No campaign site appears to be available yet.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

62nd Assembly election field set

The election to fill City Councilman Ignizio's former Assembly seat is set for March 27th. The Republican Party has nominated Lou Tobacco. His opponent, John Mulia, a registered Conservative Party member has picked up the Conservative, Democratic and Independence party nominations.

Lou Tobacco (R), website
John Mulia (C, D, I)

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

LTE: Are we better off?

In a Friday 'Letter to the Editor' (LTE) in the SI Advance, the writer poses the question President Reagan once asked, are you (we) better off now than you were seven years ago.

Look, if you're cutting taxes for the benefit of your real constituents, the top 5 percent of the country's wealthy, something has to give -- like the Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Emergency Management Agency, air and port security, air and water quality, health care and Social Security.

Read the whole piece here.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Employee Free Choice Act of 2007 (and 2003)

Today the House passed the Employee Free Choice Act (HR 800) by a vote of 241-185. Thirteen Republicans crossed party lines to vote for this bill, which guarantees the ability to unionize if a majority of employees desire. Maybe not all that surprising is that Rep. Vito Fossella, was one of those Republicans voting for the bill, considering the amount of union members in the district. In fact Fossella co-sponsored this bill early on, go take a look. What you may not know, and what you won't read in Fossella's praise of himself, is that back in "2003, Fossella refused to cosponsor the SAME EXACT BILL, then known as the Employee Free Choice Act, H.R. 3619. This bill was only 12 cosponsors short of having majority support", via vetofossella.com.

This is what happens when Fossella starts feeling the heat of closer and closer elections. While it is good for the district, don't be fooled, this is just an act. Clearly when he was part of the majority and not in danger of losing his seat he didn't care of employee rights, now he suddenly does. If this sounds familiar it may be because he did the same thing with the Minimum Wage bill that passed back in January. While he voted for it in 2007, he opposed the same exact bill or iterations of a similar bill in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

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